Thursday, November 29, 2007

Countdown with Keith Olbermann

As a policy, I avoid writing about celebrity gossip. Why? I don't find it interesting and, as a satirical target, it's just too damn easy. Is it really that surprising and jaw-dropping to find out that pop and rock stars have drug problems? That television and film stars have shaky marriages? When I was a kid all the way through my 20's, I dreamed of becoming rich and famous. Now, I just dream of becoming well off and well known. There's no way I would want to be under the scrutiny that today's celebrities have to endure. I, myself, would be easily baited by the paparazzi and you would constantly see short viral videos of me trying to shove a camera up someone's ass. America's obsession with celebrity is morbid. It's what fuels the phenomenon of untalented people becoming famous just for who they are, be they rich socialites or criminals who love the camera. And you can't blame the media on this one. Not entirely. That would be shooting the messenger. It's like the Iraq war. If we didn't fund it, it wouldn't be happening.

Why do I bring this up? Well, Don Hall has turned me into a huge fan of Countdown with Keith Olbermann. It's on MSNBC Monday through Friday at 7pm and at 11pm, Central Time. If you have been needing a Daily Show/Colbert Report fix since the writer's strike started, this is the show to watch. Olbermann is intelligent, cutting, insightful and informative. He is particularly at his best when aiming beautiful and poisonous editorials at the current administration's shredding of the constitution. People we have entrusted with running the country are worthy targets. Not celebrities and their personal lives. Unless they wander into the political arena.

And as much of a supporter and fan that I am of Olbermann, he will, without fail, disappoint me once or twice a week by devoting the number one story to Britney Spears. For the other stories, he often brings in a well-respected journalist or expert to (often) humorously explore the story. With Britney (or Paris, or Lindsay, or fill-in-the-blank), he usually pulls a VH-1 and brings in a sleepy-eyed unshaven comedian who desperately tries to fill the few minutes with their well-rehearsed "off-the-cuff" comments. Barf. It's beneath him. It completely undermines everything Olbermann has done in the hour leading up to it.

So, do watch his show. But if Britney has done something that day kid-related, car-related or underwear-related, skip out on the last five-to-ten minutes. It's painful.


Back from Thankengiving, the Robowriters return tonight at 6:30pm at the Uptown Writer's Space. Stop on by. Hear funny stuff, read funny stuff, say funny stuff, write funny stuff.


Yesterday, I asked...

"US Judge Robert Restaino has been suspended because he did what when a cellphone went off in his courtroom?"

54% said "Answered it"
- Which would have been beautiful, if it had happened. Sigh.

27% "Threw his gavel at the offender"
- No, but that must be very tempting for a judge. I could see one whipping those gavels like ninja stars and having multiple replacements strapped to their arms under those choir robe sleeves.

No one picked "Threw his own cellphone out the window"
- Guess judges don't litter.

18% picked the right answer "Threw everyone in jail"

And I do mean "everyone." According to the BBC, U.S. Judge Robert Restaino has been removed from the bench for jailing an entire courtroom audience after none of them admitted being responsible for a ringing phone. The judge has said he was under stress in his personal life at the time. It didn't help that the culprit's ringtone was "Achy Breaky Heart."